Reading the news on the BBC website this morning I spotted a story about the value of Facebook ‘Likes’. As anything with a whiff of social media attracts my attention I read further. The gist of the story was that buying advertising on Facebook to attract ‘likes’ to your Page was a bit of a waste of money as a lot of them would probably be fake accounts and not interested in your business. This has the feel of a manufactured story (sorry Rory Cellan-Jones!) which rather mixes up a few different things. Let’s take a look at the key points.
Yes, there are certainly plenty of those around. I would say that they will give you the most problems if you succumb to the offers of buying ‘likes’. There are plenty of offers on the internet (and also advertising on Facebook) which guarantee to get you magnificent numbers of fans for your page. As they say if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. With offers of £50 for 5000 fans you have to ask what you are going to get. It’s is the online version of rent-a-mob – lots of people (although in this case probably not even that) who are hanging around to make you look popular but who don’t give a hoot for what you’re doing.
Is Facebook doing anything about this? Yes, at the moment they are running a campaign to identify users with multiple accounts, I suspect that at some point they will start to close them down.
Key point: resist the temptation to ‘buy’ followers, you want to have an audience which is interested in you and your business and that will take longer to build but will be much more valuable.
There is quite a bit of discussion going on at the moment as to whether it is really worth advertising on Facebook. My answer would be that it depends on what you’re selling and whether your target demographic will be susceptible on that platform. One of the really key things that Facebook advertising has going for it, is the ability to target your market quite tightly. So, if you have a coffee shop in Birkenhead then you can restrict your advertising to that geographic area. If you sell wedding planning services then you might want to target females 25-35 who have just changed their relationship status to ‘engaged’.
What you won’t want to do is to target an unrealistically large audience. The BBC VirtualBagel Test ads “targeted the ads widely at users across the US, UK and a number of Middle Eastern and Asian countries”. That is a huge number of people. I’ve just done a quick check of the possible number of people within that demographic:
- UK 30 million
- USA 155 million
- Philippines 28 million
- United Arab Emirates 3 million
- India 49 million
- Egypt 11 million
That’s a rough total of 276,000,000 people. Rory narrowed the field with some demographic choices but was still pushing it out to an audience of 112 million. The results of his experiment seems to show that people in the US and UK are less likely to click on any old ad whilst there are more people in Egypt and India who will click on anything!
Key point: It doesn’t matter what sort of advertising you are doing – local newspaper, TV, Facebook, Google – you need to know where you audience is and what you are expecting to achieve. I could advertise Florizel Media on TV every night for a week and it would most likely not generate much business but would cost me a lot of money. Marketing is about targeting customers – just getting big numbers isn’t a result. Unless you’re standing for election for the President of the United States
In the meantime, any real people out there might like to pop over and ‘like’ the Florizel Media Facebook page – we really exist and we’ll talk to you